Addressing potential real estate students

A Low-Tech Strategy to Grow Your Real Estate Student Pipeline

By: Dearborn Real Estate Education

Digital marketing is incredibly popular today…and for good reason. Never before has it been faster, easier, or cheaper to reach a mass audience with your message. Email, eCommerce, social media, search engine marketing, banner ads, native advertising, and a hundred other digital channels have revolutionized the way you go to market as a real estate school. Of course, your potential students have also never been more overwhelmed with marketing messaging. Digital marketing experts estimate that the average American is exposed to 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements every day. How are you going to cut through that clutter?

Tessa Sims is a team leader for Keller Williams Realty San Diego North Inland (KWRSDNI). Tessa was charged with helping the brokerage launch a real estate school. In just its first year, the school enrolled 224 students and replenished over half of the agents lost to attrition with newly licensed, highly motivated agents. What is the primary recruiting tool Tessa credits with the success of their school? Career nights. In one year’s time, by opening the doors of their school, presenting on the real estate profession, and answering questions, the brokerage saw nearly 300 attendees at their free career night events. In this article, we boil down some of the strategies that have made KWRSDNI successful and discuss how you can put them to work for your school.

Make it Convenient for Students

There’s a reason we’re not just calling these events “open houses.” In order for a career night to be successful, you need to conduct it when your potential students are available. Many of them have day jobs or are otherwise occupied during daytime hours. Your career night will be most successful if you conduct it in the evenings or on the weekend, even if that’s not the most convenient time for you or your staff. Tessa credits holding their events in the evening with a lot of their success:

“We realized that we had to bite the bullet. I couldn’t get away with midday; I couldn’t get away with just once a month. It had to be twice a month, and it had to be in the evening. I really believe that’s what fueled the enrollment. In addition, we are now looking at launching a ‘Career Day’ once a month, on Saturdays, in the near future.”

Stick to a Schedule

Once you figure out a time and place that works for prospective students, set a schedule and stick to it. If you’re holding a career night on the first Tuesday of the month at 7:00 pm, you need to make sure you do that every month without fail. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool, but it loses power if your message isn’t simple and clear. According to Tessa, this part was critical to their success:

“When we committed to a consistent career night approach to bringing in people, we found it was probably the secret formula to student enrollment.”

Spread the Word

Instead of using your current marketing mix to drive student enrollment, use it to drive registration in a career night event. If a prospective student is looking for information, they’re probably not ready to enroll yet. Advertise your career nights as a no-pressure opportunity to kick the tires on a real estate career. Aim to get every student who calls with questions registered for a career night event. Once they’ve attended your event, if they decide to pursue a real estate career, you will have a warm lead who has already spent an evening in one of your classrooms. Don’t just invite prospective students and hope they will show up. Get their name, contact information, and register them to attend.

“Advertising via Craigslist under both the ‘events’ and ‘real estate’ sections, consistent social media marketing, and numerous lead generation resources are crucial. These methods are only effective when leads are followed up on with a personal phone call.”

Staff Your Career Night Appropriately

It’s important that your career night is staffed appropriately. This may mean asking your existing staff to put in extra hours, or work different hours on a career night. If you are a one- or two-person shop, or are having a hard time staffing your event with current employees, consider hiring part-time help to staff career nights. There will be additional costs associated with this strategy, but it’s important that there are people there to greet your guests and make a personal connection. It’s also important that you have the appropriate speaker(s) there to present to the group and answer questions. If you’re not currently a practicing real estate professional, it might be a good idea to pair up with a local broker or salesperson to answer career-related questions.

“Staff is going to be important to support a new venture like this. Staffing on the weekends and staffing in the evenings is critical.”

Remind Registrants of the Event

In addition to taking a registration, it’s important that you follow up with registrants the day before or the day of to remind them to attend. People are busy, and it’s not costing them anything to attend. So it’s good to remind them the event is occurring. They will appreciate the reminder, and you will assure yourself of better attendance at your event. Here’s what Tessa says about reminders:

“If I’ve got a career night tonight, and my front desk team will literally be calling everybody who’s registered that morning to remind them. We touch every incoming lead, and we touch every potential student who comes to career night.”

As marketing methods continue to evolve, there will always be new and better ways to reach your potential students. But it’s important to remember people still appreciate a personal touch. Career nights are a great way to have face-to-face meetings with prospective real estate licensing students…and get an opportunity to play a role in their decision-making process.

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